On a windy day here in Truk Lagoon, the Aikoku Maru is close by and makes for a more comfortable 10 minute boat ride. After anchoring, we were secure on the wreck and with safety checks done, the ascent onto this deep, legendary technical site was magnificent. Schools of barracuda, dogtooth tuna and jacks flooded the deck and small reef fish taking whatever cover they could find. The first task was to stage our 95% oxygen stages and get to the stern where you will find one of the largest guns Truk Lagoon has to offer. We swam around one of the anti-aircraft guns situated aft of the stack to find a white-tip reef shark sleeping next to the memorial for all of those Japanese men killed at the time of the war. We of course startled it and when out of view we secured our stages and moved towards the stern. Surrounded by activity, and slightly affected by narcosis, it seems surreal to be weightless on these wrecks and have such an array of artillery and ammunition. It is difficult to truly understand this feeling until you have experienced it for yourself. When we finally reached the large stern gun at around 160 ft / 50m we were greeted by a curious hawksbill turtle perched wonderfully at the base of this monstrous gun angled high into the sky, blissfully unaware of what was being used as an elevated viewpoint!
Once we were all satisfied with photographs and encounters, our ascent was again flooded with pelagic encounters on one of the most magnificent wrecks Truk Lagoon has to offer.